By MAGNUS EZE
Cuban Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Carlos Trejo Sosa, has traced his root to Nigeria, saying people should not be deceived by his white skin.
The envoy had on two occasions recently in Abuja, spoken on his African root.
The ambassador, who said the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade, even gave him a Yoruba name, Omowale, reasoned that since the forbearers of Cuba were from Africa, mostly Nigeria, his root was likely Nigeria.
In the same hue, Sosa said the Ooni of Ife is the spiritual father of most Cubans all over the world.
Speaking while hosting Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife at the country’s embassy in Abuja, Sosa said: “Ooni is the spiritual father of most of us Cubans all over the world because 90 per cent of Cubans are black Africans and a very large portion of us originated from Yorubaland, which is spiritually headed by Ooni of Ife.”
Sosa said Cubans originated from Ile-Ife, a town they call their ancestral home and as if to prove his African descent, the envoy said: “We are the same family. I am an African. Do not mind my colour. When you go into my gene, you will know that I am an African.”
Also, during a courtesy visit to Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the ambassador said his country is what it is today because of the enormous support by Africans, particularly from Nigeria.
Sosa thanked Nigeria for always being supportive and called for cultural exchange programmes between both countries, adding that he looked forward to Cubans coming to their root (Nigeria), while Nigerians go to Cuba.
As a way of furthering cultural ties, the envoy invited Nigerian troupes to perform at the annual feast of fire, a festival devoted to their African ancestors in Cuba.
The ambassador also spoke of the tourism potentials of Nigeria, particularly in Ile-Ife, describing the ancient town as home to numerous tourist attractions, which if developed to international standards, could boost the nation’s economy.
The minister responded saying, Nigeria was romantically related to Cuba and would do everything to sustain it. Mohammed recalled that while growing up, many Nigerians had adopted former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, as their hero, even when they did not know what was going on in Cuba.
According to him, Nigerians saw Cubans as their kith and kin that were forcefully removed from them.
He noted that both countries share many things in common, stressing that the current economic downturn would not stop Nigeria from honouring her cultural obligations to the Latin American country.
The minister assured that expired cultural agreements between the two countries would be renewed and called on Cuba to assist Nigeria in developing folklore and marketing the country’s cultural goods.
He also pledged that Nigeria would help them rediscover their root.
“We hope that Cuba will assist us especially in how you have been able to market your cultural goods and develop tourism. I know that tourism is one of the mainstays of Cuba”, he said.